An Epic Memoir Writing Day: Finding My Father #3

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Yesterday, October 10, would have been my father’s 85th birthday. He died more than 30 years ago. I had not seen or spoken with my father for over eight years, prior to his death of a heart attack at the age of 53.

Last night, I finally found the courage to open the box that my dad’s half sister sent to me last December. The box my aunt sent is full of keepsakes she had cleared out of my paternal grandmother’s home when my grandmother died almost 20 years ago. The box held report cards from when my dad was in elementary school, childish artwork he made for his mom, greeting cards he sent to his mother, most of which were homemade, dozens of photographs, and my dad’s yellowed, 85-year-old birth announcement that was published in the newspaper in 1934.

There are many more miscellaneous items that I am still working my way through. A stack of electric bills from the 1930s is included in the box — their typical month’s bill was just over $1. My paternal grandparents’ marriage license is there, and a newspaper clipping about my grandfather suffering a “serious head injury” on his job in an oil field. I was never told anything about my alcoholic, violent, witchcraft practicing paternal grandfather having a head injury, let alone an injury so bad, it was written up in the local paper. But I’m thinking it could explain a lot.

Most of the items in this treasure box were my dad’s. It is surreal. Childish drawings and report cards and pictures of a tiny boy who grew up to be my father. Very, very surreal.

My father, a church pastor, was hospitalized after his arrest for almost murdering my mother when I was 12 years old. Eventually he was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, and he definitely was more than one person. There was a good, loving, honorable, and righteous ‘daddy’ personality. But sadly, this personality vanished forever when I was 12.

My dad’s worst personality was abusive in every sense of the word. He was a very sick man, that’s for sure. Was he so sick that he could not help himself? Only God knows.

But 85 years ago he was a brand new, innocent baby. And then a sweet-faced little boy. Then a grim-faced teenager. Then a handsome young man. Then a husband, father, and a hellfire and brimstone fundamentalist minister. And then… he was a stranger.

For most of my life, I believed that my dad wasn’t my actual biological father. There were many reasons why I believed this, beginning with my mom taking me to meet her old boyfriend when I was five years old and telling him, in so many words, right in front of me, that I was his child. And, with all the insanity, trauma, and abuse in my childhood home, I honestly did not feel like I belonged in that family, after I reached a certain age.

But his half sister is my closest DNA relative listed on 23andMe. This discovery happened last December when she had her DNA tested, and then she reached out to me when she recognized my name as her closest match. So yes, my dad really was my father.

As I look through his childhood things, I am seeing a different side of the man who caused so much division that, at his funeral, my maternal grandmother showed up and loudly announced that my father had “ruined all our lives.”

The truth is, in my crazy, dysfunctional, narcissistic family, no single individual “ruined all our lives.” The whole truth, as usual, is far more complex than this.

Today marks the 400th day in a row of me writing in my memoir, without missing a single day. After more than four decades of trying, and failing, to write this crazy story, I started all over again at the beginning on September 7, 2018. By setting a “mini habit goal” of writing a minimum of 25 words in my memoir every day, I now have enough words to fill at least three books. And I am only up to age 13! After I finish this very lengthy rough draft of Growing Up CrAzY, I am either going to have to cut a lot of things out, or else I will publish my memoir as a mini series.

Yes, my childhood really was that crazy. I honestly don’t know how I survived it. But writing my story every single day, beginning with my first memory — a 6.6 earthquake — has been both very hard, and also incredibly enlightening. I am seeing my life, myself, and my family, in a whole new way. And now this box of keepsakes from my dad’s childhood is giving me an even deeper understanding of his side of the family.

What I am learning is not to be afraid of the truth, because truth, seen through the lens of God’s mercy, grace, and love, brings enlightenment and, ultimately, it brings healing. I am also learning that it’s true what they say: broken people do broken things. And in this fallen world, we are all at least a little bit broken.

Thank you for stopping by. Please accept my apologies for leaving everybody hanging about my recent hospital tests. Almost all of the tests came back within normal parameters. Apparently, most of my worrisome symptoms were caused by allergies, and the antihistamine my doctor recommended is helping a lot.

Kind comments are very welcome. If I don’t approve your comment right away, please understand that I am probably writing — or tearing up the miles on my exercise bike for stress relief. 😁

With Hugs and Love,
Linda Lee @LadyQuixote

In case you missed it, here are the links to my previous posts on this topic, Finding My Father, Part 1, and Finding My Father, Part 2:
https://ablogabouthealingfromptsd.wordpress.com/2019/01/16/finding-my-father-part-1/

https://ablogabouthealingfromptsd.wordpress.com/2019/01/30/finding-my-father-part-2/

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I highly recommend this book for changing your life and getting things done: Mini Habits by Stephen Guise.

43 thoughts on “An Epic Memoir Writing Day: Finding My Father #3

  1. Sue Cass October 11, 2019 / 3:35 pm

    First of all I want to congratulate you on your perseverance in doing this writing project. Having led sexual abuse support groups for 14 years, being a sexual abuse survivor myself, and having gone through years of jounaling and therapy and recalling and reliving those memories is about the toughest thing we survivors do. God knows when we’re ready and how much we can take at a time. He’s with you through this and will help you complete this very important part of your healing process. God bless you, Linda, and keep on keeping on. It definitely pays off!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 11, 2019 / 3:54 pm

      Thank you, Sue. I appreciate your words so much. I’m very sorry you went through that kind of abuse, too. ((HUG))

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The Eclectic Contrarian October 11, 2019 / 3:58 pm

    And through it all you had a Father!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 11, 2019 / 4:01 pm

      Yes! Through it all, He never let go of me. I thought He had at the time, and I was so bitter. But looking back, I know I was wrong.

      Liked by 3 people

      • The Eclectic Contrarian October 11, 2019 / 4:02 pm

        It’s all for a testimony!

        I don’t know if you’re interested but you’re invited to read my testimony posts.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 11, 2019 / 4:06 pm

          I decided the dogs can wait a bit, while I did a quick search on your blog. I found a post that is password protected. Can you please send the password to: (deleted) — thank you!

          Liked by 1 person

          • The Eclectic Contrarian October 11, 2019 / 4:10 pm

            Let me know if you got them,

            Liked by 1 person

          • The Eclectic Contrarian October 11, 2019 / 4:20 pm

            Lol!!! Let them out!!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 11, 2019 / 4:39 pm

            Okay… but I have to go with them, because our rescued poodle has abandonment issues. 🐩 πŸ’˜

            Liked by 1 person

          • The Eclectic Contrarian October 11, 2019 / 4:44 pm

            Abandonment or just mommy’s dog?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 11, 2019 / 5:43 pm

            Nope, serious abandonment. We found Scrappy on the highway when he was still a puppy, covered with over 40 ticks and mites, skin and bones, teetering on the brink of starvation. We fed him, took him to the vet, then gave him to one of our acquaintances, who apparently abandoned him again. That was five years ago, and he still goes into “hysterical poodle” mode when he is left outside alone.

            Plus, he’s more of a daddy’s poodle than a mama’s boy. Until we both sit down, that is. Then he can’t figure out which lap to take. πŸ˜€

            Liked by 2 people

          • The Eclectic Contrarian October 11, 2019 / 6:24 pm

            That’s awesome!!

            Liked by 1 person

  3. CynthiaBaileyRug October 11, 2019 / 4:19 pm

    You are such an inspiration!! Writing daily is tough, even with small & reasonable goals like yours yet you’re killin’ it! Awesome!

    You’re open minded about your family, too, which isn’t easy with abusers. Impressive!

    What really speaks to me though, is you going through all of those things. That’s brave! I’ve found so many private, personal notes my parents wrote in the process of cleaning out their house, but I don’t have the courage to read them. If you can read through yours, maybe I can read through mine too. Thank you for the inspiration ❀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. @PreacherBiker October 11, 2019 / 5:08 pm

    Great blog hugs and kisses back

    Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

    Liked by 1 person

  5. hawk2017 October 11, 2019 / 6:32 pm

    Love in Christ Jesus and in prayer.:)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. gracemercyjoy October 11, 2019 / 9:05 pm

    This statement really moved me “”What I am learning is not to be afraid of the truth, because truth, seen through the lens of God’s mercy, grace, and love, brings enlightenment and, ultimately, it brings healing.””
    The fear of the truth does keep us imprisoned. In the telling of it we reveal things to ourselves and we understand better the fallen-world, brokenness in us, context of other lives too. I think it makes us gentler too. You are liberating others in your truth telling, this is the gift of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 12, 2019 / 12:00 am

      My dear friend — when I get tired and wonder if spending so much time writing my memoir is a self-indulgent waste, because the world already has too many books — your words, above all others, encourages me not to quit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cherilyn Christen Clough October 12, 2019 / 12:41 am

        The world will never have too many books. Many of them are rubbish to be honest, but true stories are always important! And no two of us have the same story. Your messy story matters!!!!

        Liked by 3 people

        • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 12, 2019 / 7:52 am

          Thank you so much, Cherilyn. That means a lot, coming from you. Your book is so terrific.

          Which reminds me, I have been meaning to write a review of your amazing memoir, Chasing Eden, here on my blog. I am about to leave for a day with my stepdaughter, shopping, antiqueing, getting our hair done, a “girly” day. It’s been too long since we’ve done this. But hopefully later today I will get that post written. If not, I will do it soon, I promise. I’m putting a reminder on my phone right now. 😊

          Like

        • seekingdivineperspective October 12, 2019 / 9:49 pm

          What wonderful words of wisdom! Thank you, Cherilyn! Last week I was at the biggest book store I have ever seen, doing a book signing, and it was so intimidating to see the sheer volume of books – millions of them, no doubt over a million titles, and hundreds of thousands of authors… I and someone was going to read MY books? But a few people did buy mine, and I trust God used them to help those people. After all, there may be millions of books, but there are BILLIONS of readers, and everyone’s needs are unique. So yes, you are right, and I needed that reminder. Bless you!

          Liked by 2 people

  7. Musings of an Author's Heart October 12, 2019 / 8:03 pm

    A beautiful story of victorious living in spite of horrific life experiences. I was not abused in a violent way and never even considered myself as having been abused until the past few years. I realize now that I was emotionally abused, again not in a violent way, but I grew up believing nothing I did was good enough. I never had a close relationship with either my mother or father, and I had no siblings. I was very shy and in some ways a loner. But God! When we come face to face with these things we find healing and wholeness in Him and can move forward into new and wonderful things in our life in Christ. I am 74 and still learning. God bless you Linda as you continue to add to your memoir and unlock things that will lead to something even more beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. seekingdivineperspective October 12, 2019 / 9:52 pm

    Going through boxes of old correspondence and pictures can feel so surreal. We are getting ready to sell our house, and I’ve been sorting through “junk,” which of course takes way more time than planned. You get drawn into a different world – or a new perspective on the world and the people you thought you knew…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Anna Waldherr October 13, 2019 / 1:47 pm

    Powerful. You are a testament to God’s grace, Linda. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hdz Hendricks October 17, 2019 / 6:06 am

    This is a lovely read, and I love the way you put that God brings about enlightenment through His grace and mercy; another favorite was how you put that broken people do broken things, and we are all a little broke. Beautiful. Looking forward to your memoir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 17, 2019 / 10:32 am

      Thank you! I am just about to start on my memoir writing for the day. Today I will be writing about a particularly difficult experience. Your kind comment gave me just the boost I needed. 😊

      Like

  11. mitchteemley October 18, 2019 / 4:56 pm

    Oh, Linda, you have stories to tell. And such reasons to tell them!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. dalegreenearts October 19, 2019 / 9:20 am

    I’m also working on a memoir. My childhood was colored with an absent father who committed suicide and a narcissistic mother who didn’t want us because we reminded her of him. So I feel an affinity with your story. Please let me know if you ever publish them because I’d love to read your story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 20, 2019 / 12:22 am

      Oh. Yes. My heart goes out to you. I wish I could give you a hug. I will definitely let you know when my memoir is published. πŸ’˜πŸ’˜

      Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 30, 2019 / 1:14 pm

      Please let me know when your memoir is published. I want to be one of the first to read it. πŸ’˜πŸ’˜πŸ’˜

      Liked by 1 person

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